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Mars Rover's Clean Landing On Clean Code


Code testing player Coverity is running with the swell of media interest in the red planet this month with news that the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) used its software to build the Curiosity Rover's critical flight software.

The company explains that from the inception of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory mission, static analysis has been used by NASA JPL as a key part of the code review process to ensure the success of one of the most complex missions ever undertaken by NASA and the reliability of one of the most complex machines ever sent into space.

NASA JPL developers use Coverity to test all of the software that controls the flight and onboard functions of the Curiosity Rover (over 2 million lines of code) to ensure that every software defect is found and fixed before launch.

NOTE: Curiosity is a car-sized land rover tasked with investigating whether Mars could have ever had environments conducive to life. Given the mission-critical nature of Curiosity, the software powering the rover must be reliable and free of software defects. A single defect could mean the difference between success and failure of the $2.5 billion NASA mission and impair its ability to assess the possibility of life on Mars.

"The use of Coverity technology in mission-critical projects with zero tolerance for error is a testament to our ability to quickly detect unpredictable and traditionally hard to spot software defects," said Jennifer Johnson, VP of marketing at Coverity. "We are honored to have been able to contribute to this significant scientific achievement and help NASA unlock the secrets of potential life on Mars."


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